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date: 29 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article provides several lines of interrelated arguments related to scholarly oversight. These oversights occurred as national state-building reformers were stymied by political and judicial realpolitik and instead tapped into and appropriated the existing capacity of the states. It outlines the nature of the American federal system. The development of bureaucratic capacity at the national and state levels in the last third of the nineteenth century is also described. Demonstrated next is how partisan and institutional incentives in Congress, the presidency, and the judiciary fostered the emergence of qualitatively different intergovernmental policy tools. It then summarizes the reasons for the oversight by researchers of this critical era of national American state building and concludes by offering suggestions for future research. The American state that emerged, especially after the New Deal, was far stronger and more centralized in administrative capacity than what had previously existed.

Keywords: New Federalism, American federal system, Congress, presidency, judiciary, American state, intergovernmental policy

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